The Best Way To Sculpt Your Abs And Legs All At Once

Offset dumbbell lunge or squat jump?

Rachael Schultz |

Why work solely toward a sculpted six-pack, when you can sculpt your legs at the same time? Most functional, lower body moves – squats, lunges, thrusts – require some help from your core for stabilisation. But if you really want to work your abs and legs all in one go, you need a move that seriously challenges your ability to stay balanced, like the offset dumbbell lunge or squat jumps.

Which One Is Better?

Which one is a better use of your time though? TBH, both bring their own benefits to the mat.

For the first, the lunge works every part of your leg, including the quads, hamstrings and especially the glutes, notes strength and conditioning specialist Darin Hulslander. The offset technique of holding a dumbbell only on one side adds unique resistance to the hips, also working both your obliques and those deep abdominal muscles that help you brace and stabilise to control the imbalance. “These deep core muscles are ones we don’t use as often, and this exercise gets them firing hardcore,” he adds.

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Meanwhile, the squat jump targets pretty much the same muscles, but you’re also gaining power and explosiveness from the jump, while bracing the core to stabilise yourself during take-off and landing. Plus, the act of jumping skyrockets your heart rate, Hulslander points out.

While both moves will sculpt your abs and legs, Hulslander says the can’t-miss move is really the offset dumbbell lunge. “It wins by a hair because it creates a little more tension in the muscles than the squat jumps do, and that will provide a much larger benefit to your lower body in the long term.” Plus, it has a larger core component, so you’ll get a bit more of a washboard burn than with the squat jumps.

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If you really want to challenge both muscle groups, though, Hulslander challenges you to try eight of the offset lunges per side, then finish with eight squat jumps. “You’ll get the best of both worlds!”

Here’s How To Do Both Moves

Offset dumbbell lunge

How to: Hold a dumbbell in your left hand next to your shoulder. Step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your left leg is bent 90 degrees. Complete the reps, then switch arms and lunge with your right leg.

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Squat Jump

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Raise your arms in front of you until they are parallel with the floor too. Pause, then, driving out your heels, jump as high as you can while swinging your arms back towards your sides. Land and reset. That’s one rep.

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